• RSS

Niedermayer Getting his Ducks in a Row

By Phil Coffey, NHL.com

Friday, 06.27.2008 / 9:13 AM PT / Features
Share with your Friends

Niedermayer Getting his Ducks in a Row

Ducks defenseman Scott Niedermayer has decided to play another season in Anaheim. 
Scott Niedermayer certainly took all the suspense out of the summer for the Anaheim Ducks Thursday.

And everyone seems pretty happy about it.

Unlike last summer, when Niedermayer thought long and hard about his NHL future after winning his fourth Stanley Cup with the Ducks in 2007. He eventually opted to return to play, appearing in 48 regular-season games, totaling eight goals and 17 assists. How important was Niedermayer’s return to the Ducks? When you consider Anaheim was 32-12-4 after Niedermayer returned, the best mark in the League, the answer is obvious.

After winning the Cup in ’07, Ducks GM Brian Burke showed plenty of patience and didn’t press either Niedermayer or veteran winger Teemu Selanne for their decisions on returning to play until they were ready. Selanne also eventually rejoined the Ducks. But after the Ducks were eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the first round, Burke said he wouldn’t be as patient this time around, hence Niedermayer’s decision prior to the July 1 start of free agency.

“Obviously, I’m getting a little better at making these decisions quicker,” Niedermayer joked. “I’m looking forward to the season starting.

“When I first started thinking about retiring last year after we won the Stanley Cup, I maybe didn’t appreciate some of the things that would make it difficult to walk away from the game, some of the things that I’ve enjoyed for a long time playing this great sport. Something I’ve enjoyed doing since I was 6-year-old. I have a little different perspective on it. I think physically and mentally I definitely feel a lot fresher right now than I did a year ago at this time. I think that’s a big change as well.”

Niedermayer said he had made up his mind fairly quickly, but delayed the announcement until after the birth of his fourth son, Luke, last weekend.

“I probably have been sitting on this decision for a little bit,” he said. “It’s been good just to see how I felt after making the decision, committing to it personally and just let a little time pass after that. It felt like the right decision. I’m excited to get back playing some hockey with the guys we have in our room.”

Now the Ducks will try to lure Selanne back for another season. He becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

“I talked to him a couple of times before I made my final decision,” Niedermayer said of Selanne. “I think he’s back in Finland now. I just want him to make the right decision for him personally and really not interfere with that. I’m sure he will do that, and whatever it is we will respect it and support it.”

Burke sounded a little more anxious to get a decision from Selanne.

“It’s just like last year,” Burke joked. “We’re looking for Teemu on a milk carton. Nobody has seen him. He’s on his own time. He’s in Helsinki. I haven’t talked to him.”

Burke said he had an inkling Niedermayer would opt to return, but was glad the news became official.

“We believed that Scott would play,” Burke said. “We have been meeting with season-ticket holders the last couple nights and I told them that I hoped and thought he would. I’m not surprised, but obviously pleased. This is a great player. We’re a better team this afternoon than we were this morning.

“Yeah, I’m happy. A manager always likes news like that. This is good news. There is no other way to look at this. We are a better hockey club this afternoon than we were this morning. He’s an important player on our team and a leader on our team. It’s great news.”

So what was different for Niedermayer this time around? After 79 regular-season games and 21 playoff games in 2006-07, Niedermayer was just tired. Happy, but tired.

“It really wasn’t different,” he said. “I’ve gone through everything. I’ve gone over this for a long time, four or five months last year and two months now. There really wasn’t anything different in the decision. I guess after a short year and a shorter playoff run, I definitely physically and mentally feel ready to go, a lot more energized. That’s probably a big difference this year as opposed to last year.

“I suppose when I made the decision to come back last year in the fall, I probably thought that that was going to be my last season. I hadn’t at that point really thought a whole lot about it. Once the season was under way, I enjoyed playing. We had our focus as a team to try and get into the playoffs and then do some good things there, so I never really thought a lot about it. I probably thought less about it this summer than I did last, to be honest, that I was going retire. I was evaluating a little bit more and just moving forward to make another decision.”

And after a first-round loss to the Dallas Stars in the playoffs, the Ducks have something to prove.

“We’re fresher,” Niedermayer said. “We’re energized. We have the excitement to get back on the ice as soon as possible, whereas after you’ve played a long playoffs, a long season, you’re worn down and maybe you don’t have as much in the tank. That’s a big challenge of returning after a long season like that.

“It’s a difficult situation to be in. I think how our season went, finishing with over 100 points, we managed to do pretty well there. There was a little disappointment in the playoffs. That’s the beauty of pro sports. The next year rolls around, you have another opportunity to try and go out and achieve your goal. I think with the group of guys we have our goal really hasn’t changed. I think we’ll all be looking forward to that challenge and the opportunity that we have.”

In all likelihood, the 2008-09 season will be the end of Niedermayer’s terrific NHL career.

“If I had to place a guess, I would say yes, but I’ve been wrong before in my thinking,” Niedermayer said. “That could change. If I had to sort of make a decision on that now, I would say yeah, this will probably be it.”

But Niedermayer has been known to reserve the right to change his mind before.

Author: Phil Coffey | NHL.com Editorial Director




1 z - DAL 82 50 23 9 267 230 109
2 x - STL 82 49 24 9 224 201 107
3 x - CHI 82 47 26 9 235 209 103
4 y - ANA 82 46 25 11 218 192 103
5 x - LAK 82 48 28 6 225 195 102
6 x - SJS 82 46 30 6 241 210 98
7 x - NSH 82 41 27 14 228 215 96
8 x - MIN 82 38 33 11 216 206 87
9 COL 82 39 39 4 216 240 82
10 ARI 82 35 39 8 209 245 78
11 WPG 82 35 39 8 215 239 78
12 CGY 82 35 40 7 231 260 77
13 VAN 82 31 38 13 191 243 75
14 EDM 82 31 43 8 203 245 70


R. Getzlaf 77 13 50 14 63
C. Perry 82 34 28 2 62
R. Kesler 79 21 32 5 53
R. Rakell 72 20 23 -1 43
J. Silfverberg 82 20 19 8 39
S. Vatanen 71 9 29 8 38
A. Cogliano 82 9 23 2 32
H. Lindholm 80 10 18 7 28
C. Fowler 69 5 23 -8 28
C. Stewart 56 8 12 2 20
F. Andersen 22 9 7 .919 2.30
J. Gibson 21 13 4 .920 2.07

AnaheimDucks.com is the official Web site of the Anaheim Ducks. Anaheim Ducks and AnaheimDucks.com are trademarks of Anaheim Ducks Hockey Club, LLC. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2016 Anaheim Ducks Hockey Club, LLC and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.

Privacy Policy     Contact Us    Jobs     Honda Center    Corporate Partnerships   Terms of Use   NHL TicketExchange  Site Map AdChoices